TODAY -

Manipur's Doomsday

Shohaib Rahaman *

ILP : Bandh/Strike for Implementation Of ILPS at Singjamei Wangma, Imphal :: June 24 2016
ILP : Bandh for Implementation Of ILPS at Singjamei Wangma on June 24 2016 :: Pix - Shankar Khangembam



The Malom incident and Sharmila's fast, the killing of Manorama and the consequent violence along with mild to severe communal flare ups from time to time, Manipur has never been short of events. The so called fake encounter killing is another decoration to it. In one way or the other, shockingly, these incidents involve the loss of innocent lives. Now it's the ILP issue under the umbrella of JCILPS which is rocking the state.

Let's have a look into how we stage protests without any prejudices and preconditions. The basic reason the valley people cite for the need of ILP is to save the indigeneous people from the onslaught by non-locals on our culture and more importantly on jobs and employments in the state.

But a sharp contrasting viewpoint comes from the hills saying this is just a tactic of the valley people to grab their lands and the later responding ILP has nothing to do with their lands for they have already protection under the constitution. The deep mistrust and sharp divide between the two groups of people is a matter of concern.

While one student lost his life for ILP, nine people lost their lives for just the opposite. It would be good for the two groups to bridge the gap through historical and common ties for it won't be a good sign in the long run to remain divided.

As in many cases and incidents, in the present case also, we have not parted ourselves from our romantic partner- bandhs and general strikes without which we suffer from insomnia or loss of appetite. Is it a simple matter that a father with his daughter's birthday cake can't reach home alive? And how far are we going to continue the pains that we meted out to our emas (mothers) in their businesses whom we are proud of for their courage and bravery?

A lot of daily wage earners and workers lost their works and money while the so called non-local businessmen are earning huge profits during our date with our partner. Are we going to hurt the indigeneous people and benefit those whom we want to restrict entry into the state? Some may argue- to get something good we need to suffer something.

But are our minds too short of thinking to find alternative means to demand our goals so that the snake gets killed with the stick unbroken? It's not good to compromise our stomachs atleast for many of us live from hand to mouth in the name of doing something good for the state. It won't be surprising if serious question like- "Do the protestors and spearheaders for Manipur's good really represent the people of Manipur?" arises. Our mentality is that even when there is loud farting noise we should do bandhs willy-nilly.

The underlying theme behind the bandhs and blockades is to grab the attention of the concerned authority by freezing the people's activities and hurting them. While the effect on government is little, the hardest hit is the poors. Its like targeting the weak unable to take on the strong and mobilising the later as a consequence.

But it's not rational at all, that's the reason why we hear statements like 'we support ILP but not bandhs'. Another obnoxious trend is the class boycott. While the schools were let open even during the World War II, if class boycott is imposed for such issues, that's the end of the story.

Above all, the main problem lies with the state government which finds it difficult to get works done without any precedence of bandhs and public's anger and pressure. The public need not teach government accountability, they should know it themselves. Again next year, a very interesting event is going to happen where some people would yell the works they had done and what they will do in the next five years. Watching those "Leikai ge Wakat" episodes on Impact TV is mindblowing to hear that.

The problems can't be solved overnight but we should lay down a framework for the same. There is a concept that if anything unusual, wrong or injustice is done, we end up saying "This is Manipur".

We should know the public and government are both parts of the problem and they should also be parts of the solution. For the bandhs to come an end to itself, the basic reason why people took to bandhs needs to be dug out, be it bad justice delivery system to victims or bad conditions of the roads or delaying the completion of public works or the government not releasing the pays of the employees or the ILP issue which is highly complex or anything else similar for which the government as mentioned above, need not be taught accountability and at the same time, the public should dump the habit of resorting to bandhs for anything that we don't want.

For ILP, the root cause of the people's demand, it's feasibility, the hill-valley divide needs to be looked into and we should try to evolve some forms of standard protests. If we felt these things can't be easily possible for "This is Manipur", the disease can't be treated through mild medications, more serious forms of treatment needs to come so that everything don't come to "This is Manipur" and save ourselves from our "own created doomsday".


* Shohaib Rahaman wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer is a student of Delhi University and can be contacted at shohaaiibb(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was posted on June 27, 2016.


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